When Radiohead’s debut album Pablo Honey was released in 1993, I had turned 5 years old just 4 days prior. If that’s not the best indication of the band’s seemingly timeless career, I don’t know what is.
Brit rock will have a special place in my heart if only for the fact that, as illogical as it is, it reminds me of the Pete & Pete theme song: “Hey Sandy” by Polaris.
Funny then, that the opening lyrics of that theme couldn’t describe Radiohead frontman/genius Thom Yorke any better:
Hey smilin’ strange /
You’re looking happily deranged
Pablo Honey pays homage to Brit rock in a way that only Radiohead could pull off. And while this is far and away their most conventional release (the experimentation didn’t kick into high gear until the release of their next album The Bends), it’s cool to hear that in addition to all the ‘weird’ stuff we know them best for now, they are able to write more straightforward, radio-friendly tunes.
And of course, this is the album that birthed “Creep” – a mega-hit in its own right.
But there are some lesser-publicized jams on here: songs like the fast and furious “Blow Out” which eventually leaves Yorke breathless. “Thinking About You,” which is their best acoustic-driven song this side of… well, I suppose it is their best acoustic song not on any hokey, so-called ‘rare’ or ‘b-sides’ release.
I won’t wax poetic about a time when this type of music was more prevalent and respected; you know, the kind that, while less flashy, emphasized the music rather than the production. At times, Pablo sounds dated, because it’s 20 years old.
This album has a certain soul that a lot of music released in the 2000s just doesn’t.
From their classic debut record Pablo Honey, this is “You” –
Standout tracks: “Creep” and “Anyone Can Play Guitar” – “Blow Out” makes a strong showing too.
Weakest track: I skip “Lurgee” more often than not.
RIYL: 90’s Brit rock – the classics like Oasis, The Verve, etc.